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SCRD Board responds to Henderson ‘resignation’

Sechelt Mayor John Henderson has not in fact resigned from the SCRD board, despite his statement to the contrary on Thursday.

That from the Sunshine Coast Regional District in their public response to Henderson’s open letter of resignation from their board.

Related: Sechelt Mayor Henderson resigns from SCRD board position

Board chair Leonard Lee says that for Henderson to be taken off the board, his district needs to appoint a replacement, which has yet to happen.

“For those that are not fully aware of the process, Alternate Director Henderson has not resigned from the SCRD Board,” writes Lee.
“He has apparently, publicly, noted an intention to resign. For Alternate Director Henderson to be replaced on the SCRD Board, the District of Sechelt must first identify a replacement and notify the SCRD of the change. This has not yet happened.”

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This all stems from a workplace incident during a public meeting this spring, which the board says breached their respectful workplace policy.

“Alternate Director Henderson’s comments, directed at an SCRD staff member and witnessed by staff members, fellow Directors and members of the public have had a very real and lasting effect,” writes Lee.

“This issue was initiated by him, was directed at staff in front of witnesses who immediately documented what they heard, reported their concerns, and, as per SCRD Policy and the WorkSafeBC regulations on bullying and harassment, it had to be investigated and ultimately addressed. To be clear, it could not be ignored, swept under the carpet, or forgotten because he eventually expressed some regret.”

Lee says that he will always stand up for his staff and they do not tolerate any comments or actions that create a toxic workplace. He says an immediate apology from Henderson would have gone a long way.

“I know of no restriction that would prevent him from providing an apology to those staff, especially to the person to whom he directed his comments,” Lee says. “He has had over six months to take such action and has not done so. An immediate apology might have gone a long way to addressing the concerns of the Board. Only he can advise why he has not apologized to the recipient of his comments and to those that were nearby.”

He says any costs or staff hours related to this incident are the result of Henderson’s actions alone, and that he hopes the board can move on and focus on important priorities.

“I hope that, for the sake of the staff who bore the brunt of Alternate Director Henderson’s comments, they accept that this Board has taken the necessary and appropriate action and that we can now move forward and concentrate on the important work that we have been elected to do in our communities.”

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